San Diego Chargers 30, Cleveland Browns 27
It wasn’t Lambo’s first game-winning attempt, nope… that came just a play earlier. Lambo lined up for a 39-yard field goal but pushed it right, but the Browns (being the Browns and doing Brown things) had come across the line early. The offsides penalty set up Lambo for a second try and this time he was nails, sending the Chargers to their second victory of the season.
I actually think Tramon Williams being so close to blocking the kick, because he was offsides, forced Lambo to hit it right and missed it. Just a thought, not like it matters now, but I think he hits the first one if he doesn’t jump offsides.
The Chargers offensive line was without three starters, LT King Dunlap, LG Orlando Franklin and Center Chris Watt. While the line struggled early that led to Rivers hitting the ground, they really did a good job of giving Rivers time as the game progressed.
On the Chargers’ first score, Rivers found Keenan Allen on a 28-yard dime. I think that was the most time Rivers has had to throw all season, and it led to a fantastic throw and catch. That gave the Chargers a 7-3 lead.
The Browns came right back with a 34-yard connection, McCown to rookie running back Duke Johnson. He was lined up in the slot and beat Donald Butler one-on-one and made a nice grab in the back of the end zone.
Two Jake Lambo field goals (46, 49 yards) and the game went into half 13 all.
The Chargers had only dressed four wide receivers for this game. Malcom Floyd left very early in the first quarter after grabbing a ball across the middle and did not return with a concussion.
The defense was playing without their top corners. Jason Verrett was out and Brandon Flowers left with a concussion. After having just one sack through the first three games, the Chargers came up with 4 sacks on McCown, including two by Jeremiah Attaochu.
Missed tackles still plagues the Chargers’ defense. Manti Te’o seems to be in position but cannot finish plays, although he did end up leading the team with 13 tackles. Imagine if he was a good tackler, he would have had 20!
In the third quarter, Danny Woodhead took a short pass from Rivers and scampered 61-yards into Browns territory. On the next play Rivers found Ladarius Green for the 19-yard score and a 20-16 Bolts lead.
With 8 minutes left, Rivers found tight end John Phillips in the back of the end zone for a 1-yard TD that extended the Chargers lead to eight. During that drive, Rivers connected with Inman for 68 yard catch and run on a cross route.
The Browns weren’t done. McCown drove them 67 yards on ten plays including a crazy catch by tight end Gary Barnidge, the play was ruled incomplete but overturned after review. McCown hit him again for a 1-yard TD and the 2-point conversion was successful to tie the game at 27 with 2:09 left.
That was plenty of time for Rivers to drive down and get into field goal range for Lambo to connect for his first career game-winner.
Philip Rivers 23/38, 356 yards, 3 TD’s
Danny Woodhead 8 carries, 54 yards
Dontrelle Inman 3 rec, 88 yards
Keenan Allen 4 rec, 72 yards, 1 TD
Make shift offensive line. They held up and played pretty well considering. They gave Rivers at least time to get the ball out, even if they were mostly quick throws. The offense looked like it came together finally today. After a slow start, the offensive line gets the game ball.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Diego Chargers – Monday Night Football!
The Steelers come to town for a Monday Night Football showdown. The Steelers are coming off a heart breaking loss to division rival Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football and are of course without QB Ben Rothlisberger. Michael Vick will now have over a week to prepare against the Chargers defense and the coaching staff will look to get him more comfortable in their complex offense.
The Chargers have had plenty of heartbreaks on MNF, but they’ll need a W to keep momentum going. Both will be dealing with some big injuries, but without Big Ben, the Steelers are very much mortal.